BUFFALO GAP – It was a disappointment for Kaylee Mills and the Buffalo Gap Bison team when a quest for a state championship came up short earlier this month.
The loss, however, didn’t dim Mills love for the game and the success of her team which completed the regular season with an 18-2 record.
“It was probably the best season I’ve had in high school,” Mills said. “We were so close. I’ve never been on a team where everybody enjoyed being around each other all the time.”
Mills is not only adept at volleyball but also plays soccer. And she is very good in the classroom where she ranks second in her senior class.
For her accomplishments, Buffalo Gap has selected her as its fall nominee for the City/County Student-Athlete of the Year award, sponsored by The News Leader.
By the time Mills graduates, she will have earned six varsity letters, three each in her two sports.
Between volleyball and soccer, there’s no doubt which she likes best.
“It’s definitely volleyball,” she said. “I play year-round including travel.”
Mills first took up volleyball in the seventh grade. After two years on the jayvees, she joined the Bison varsity as a sophomore.
Although she plays full rotation, she admits she likes the defensive part of the game the best. “It’s fun to hustle and get after the balls,” she said.
Her efforts have been recognized with an all-district selection.
Mills association with soccer began much earlier in her life than volleyball.
“I started when I was little, in the AYSO program,” she said. “I then took it up at the eighth grade level.”
And like volleyball, after two years on the Bison jayvees, she joined the varsity.
In soccer, the Gap senior is a striker.
“That’s pretty much where I’ve been all my career,” she said. “I really like to sprint, be after the ball, and score a lot.
“I love the relationships with the girls on my team and I’m looking forward to a senior fun year,” she said.
Academically, Mills No. 2 ranking is in a senior class of around 130 students. She carries a 4.2 grade point average and has had final grades of an A in all her high school courses.
Her favorite area of study are the sciences, especially chemistry, where she likes the math part of it.
Chemistry, along with calculus and geospatial information systems are her courses at the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School while AP government and AP English are taken at Gap.
Although she finds her academics challenging, Mills is able to balance her studies and athletics well and still have time for numerous extracurricular activities.
At school, she is an executive officer with the student government and a member of the National Honor Society.
Outside school, she has been a member of her travel volleyball team, the Augusta Juniors, for four years and participates in Young Life.
In the future, Mills plans to attend either James Madison University or Christopher Newport, where she will probably play club volleyball.
“I would like to be a high school teacher and coach volleyball,” she said. “I’ve been to both campuses and they both have big Young Life communities.”
Bison volleyball coach Elizabeth Ashby surely will miss her senior.
“She’s an amazing young lady, just special,” Ashby said. “She was a leader on the team, and everyone looked up to her. She kept them focused and in full circle all the time.
“She is also an outstanding student, and outside school she is really involved in Young Life. That motivates others to follow her.”
Each public school from Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro selects fall, winter and spring nominees, then selects one finalist. One finalist will also be chosen from nominees made by area private schools.
Next: Daniel Everidge, Waynesboro